Next-gen online games help grow market 28%, to reach $9.5B worldwide in 2015E

Spurred by swells in audience size for next-gen online games League of Legends and World of Tanks—which mix engaging game mechanics with new monetization strategies—free-to-play (F2P) MMO games saw a strong Q4 2012. Hauling in nearly $3B in revenues this year, Asia accounted for 44% of the market. North America trailed at 23% and $1.53B in 2012. Worldwide, revenues grew 28% since last year.

Showing no decline in their dominance over pay-to-play, F2P games will reach $9.5B in revenues by 2015E. In the US, F2P titles earned more than P2P every month of 2012 and had more than double the revenue in October. By January of 2013, US P2P revenues will be a quarter of F2P.

Based on our monthly panel of paying MMO gamers, we found that there continues to be a lot of momentum among online gamers, who are willing to spend. The overall audience continues to grow, and in combination with consistent ARPPUs, this growth offsets the slight decrease in conversion rates.

The gaming industry continues to work to keep pace with the rapid changes. The sessions at this month’s Game Connection conference in Paris—everything from how Aion transitioned to F2P to how to fund games with Kickstarter—are aimed at helping developers, publishers, and financiers understand the whims of gamers.

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